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5 ways to support the pulp, paper, and packaging industries in the New Year

If you are an Ahead of the Curve reader (and judging from the fact that you’re reading this now, it seems that you ARE) you probably work within the pulp, paper, or packaging industry. Your professional life is dedicated to making or selling pulp, paper, printed materials or packaging (or supporting those who do), and every day on the job you’re working toward a secure and sustainable future for your company and your industry. You believe in the important contributions that paper and packaging have made to human culture, health, safety, and quality of life around the world.

In other words, you’re already doing a great job supporting the pulp, paper, and packaging industry – and for that, those who bring you Ahead of the Curve thank you! To support YOUR efforts—and to provide some end-of-the-year fun—we’d like to offer 5 more ways to “walk the talk” and actively support our industries.

5. Make these New Years’ paper crafts
End-of-the-year holidays have always had a strong connection with paper—from the paper poppies of November’s Armistice Day, through colorful Diwali lanterns, heartfelt Christmas cards, and the festive blue and gold wrappings on Hanukkah gifts. The Paper Mill Store blog has rounded up 14 New Year’s Decorations & Paper Crafts to keep the paper love going into the New Year. Using paper decorations reminds your party guests that our industry’s products are recyclable and sustainable, and that the creative potential of paper is endless.

4. Keep a journal
Writers unite! By keeping a paper journal, you will not only be using a bit more paper… you may be expanding your brain. An article at Huffington Post offers 10 surprising ways that keeping a paper journal can help you find personal and professional success in the New Year. Think of how your company can benefit if you have a way to capture those “middle-of-the-night” ideas! Also, paper journals make excellent corporate or employee gifts.

3. Continue reading/subscribing to print publications
We’ve all heard a lot about how e-readers and internet news have “replaced” print books and newspapers—and indeed, demand for newsprint and printing and writing grades has dropped significantly. Still, that’s not the whole story. This 2016 report from Pew Research Center confirms that 65% of Americans have read a print book in the last year—more than double the share that has read an e-book and more than four times the share that has consumed book content via audio book.

2. Help support a positive perception of forest products
Using print and paper, asking for paper bags and recyclable packaging, and choosing sustainable forest products for home construction (even countertops can now be made with paper!) are all a great way to model your commitment to the pulp and paper industry. TAPPI (tappi.org), Two Sides North America (twosidesna.org) and the American Forest and Paper Association (afandpa.org) all offer resources and information you can share with employees, customers, and your community to help support a positive perception of our sustainable industries, and of the positive contributions forest products companies make to local economies.

1. Encourage a young person to consider a career in pulp, paper, or packaging
We’ve saved the most important idea for last. Like any industries driven by innovation and technology, the pulp, paper, and packaging industries depend on a well-educated young workforce to propel it toward a vibrant future.

See this article in the Sep/Oct 2016 issue of Paper360 to learn more about a few of the many “paper schools” in North America and around the world with programs that prepare young engineers for rewarding careers in the pulp, paper, and packaging industries. You can support student scholarship funds through these schools, or through TAPPI, with personal or corporate donations. Many local school districts welcome corporate support for STEM programs, Manufacturing Day events, field trip tours, and Career Day participation. Put support for these programs at the top of the 2017 Resolutions list for your company, your mill, or your business group. There may be no more important way to ensure a bright future for our industries.

This will be our final Ahead of the Curve newsletter for 2016, but we will be back in January with a sneak peek at the 2017 Industry Forecast. As we prepare for 2017, the editors of Ahead of the Curve would love to hear reader ideas for topics—email [email protected] with your suggestions and comments.

In the meantime, feel free to share or forward these ideas, and best wishes for a prosperous New Year from everyone at Ahead of the Curve.

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